The mannish boy became manna from heaven yesterday, as Jesse Puljujarvi fit like a glove on to the Nuge line at Madison Square Garden. Scoring early and looking like he could do it again and again, he was fast, responsible and belonged. You can get a lot out of a crappy season if enough questions get answered.
The special Lowetide offer is here. Among the items on the menu today are:
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 3 Prospect Winter 2017: Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: Trade Winds in Edmonton?
- Jonathan Willis: Jesse Puljujarvi’s long-term development.
- Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s trades.
- Lowetide: The value of value contracts.
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 1 Prospect Winter 2017: Kailer Yamamoto
- Lowetide: Oilers No. 2 Prospect Winter 2018: Jesse Puljujarvi
- Special Offer
PIKES PEAK, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in November 2015: 2-4-0, goal differential -4
- Oilers in November 2016: 2-3-1, goal differential -4
- Oilers in November 2017: 3-3-0, goal differential -2
The Oilers 2017-18 team remains the most successful of the Todd McLellan era but it’s close. In 2015-16, Edmonton lost 4-3 in overtime to Marian Hossa and the Chicago Blackhawks. Last season it was a 3-1 loss to the Rangers.
AFTER 16, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers 15-16: 6-10-0, goal differential -7
- Oilers 16-17: 9-6-1, goal differential +4
- Oilers 17-18: 6-9-1, goal differential -13
November (3-3-0) is better than October (3-6-1) but both records represent a team on the outside of the playoffs looking in. G17 was a 4-1 loss to Arizona in 2015-16, last season a 4-1 loss to Anaheim. A win yesterday would have this team at 7-8-1, fairly close to .500 and a lot of ground made up in November. As it is, the club has to win today and against Vegas in order to arrive at 8-9-1 before the St. Louis game. This team badly needs a winning streak.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NOVEMBER
- At home to:
Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Detroit (Expected: 2-1-0) (Actual 1-2-0)
- On the road to:
NYI, New Jersey, NYR, Washington (Expected: 1-2-1) (Actual: 2-1-0)
- At home to: Vegas, St. Louis (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual: 0-0-0)
- On the road to: Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit, Buffalo, Boston (Expected 2-2-1) (Actual 0-0-0)
- At home to: Arizona, Toronto (Expected 1-1-0) (Actual 0-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 7-7-2, 16 points in 16 games
- Current results: 3-3-0, six points in six games
So far, my estimates are marching along nicely with the record of the team, although the club is doing better than anticipated on the road. If the Oilers win today, this going 3-1-0 on the road trip, it will mark the most successful portion of the season to date. The schedule remains a bear, important Edmonton remains somewhere near the race through end December when the road gets easier.
- Russell-Gryba were solid in possession, going 15-7 including 8-0 with the Nuge line. Went 12-3 against Kreider-Buchnevich-Grabner line. This paring was solid and played five minutes against a pretty damned good line. Both men get caved online, the things I value suggest they played well.
- Nurse-Larsson went 13-11 together, 1-0 in GF. Went 4-7 against Nash-Hayes-Zuccarello, 5-2 against Miller-Desharnais-Vesey. This pairing is finding their way, 7-7-6 (OZ-NZ-DZ) in faceoffs.
- Klefbom-Benning went 11-14 together, 0-1 GA (all of this 5×5) and of course Oscar was a deer in the headlights on a couple of goals. 6-5-6 in faceoffs, 4-6 against Nash-Hayes-Zucarello, 7-8 with the McDavid line.
- If you’ve come here hoping for a searing take on Klefbom, you’re going to be disappointed. He’s struggling, and defensive coverage is not his forte. Klefbom can do a lot of things and he is a valuable player with a fantastic contract. Trading him would be shortsighted in the highest. This is your future, that’s a fact.
- Cam Talbot stopped 30 of 33, .909 and at 5×5, 26 of 27, .963. He’s back, the Oilers need to score more goals and give him better support.
- Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com.
FORWARDS LAST NIGHT
- Malone-Letestu-Kassian went 4-2 in limited minutes. Kassian is a dentist’s dream.
- Lucic-Nuge-Puljujarvi were fantastic, just an amazing afternoon. That JP recall could have a gigantic impact on the season if the young man shoots the puck on net five times a game. I thought he was fast, strong and played an intelligent two-way game.
- Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl had some things going on but couldn’t find clean air in the third period. Todd McLellan is taking a lot of heat now in keeping this line together, it may mean the Finn makes an appearance with the top group before the end of the month.
- Jokinen-Strome-Pakarinen are a porridge line, spending most of the game on the way to the play.
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) November 11, 2017
All manner of possibles for Chiarelli to view in that game, although Alex Petrovic didn’t play for the Panthers last night. I’d look for a fast scoring right-wing who doesn’t cost the moon as the most obvious option and that may mean the Devils are the team PC was viewing. The Devils need defensemen and the Oilers will have an extra lefty when Andrej Sekera returns (maybe December?) to regular action.
I’ve mentioned this a few times but the Puljujarvi arrival (if it turns out) could be a turning point for the organization. I’m not sure they’ll make the playoffs this season but solving RW scoring is a big part of what’s ailing this hockey team. If JP scores 20 this season on a Nuge line, the long list of things that keep the Edmonton Oilers from balance will have one fewer major items to solve next summer. It would be a gigantic damned deal.